30 April 2016

Flowers and more flowers

The light in London is so good for photography and the flowers are so plentiful and affordable.  I spent a lot of time putting flowers on windowsills and taking their picture.

Little M decided that one of her Sylvanian Family members should also pose for a photo.

I never thought I would see daffodils and hydrangeas together.  In Australia, their flowering is separated by months.  It seems that in London, anything is possible.

This beautiful pot of bulbs was insanely (by Australian standards) cheap to buy and provided weeks of pleasure.

 I prepared this post some time ago, but family events have taken precedence over blogging of late so these spring flowers are somewhat out of season now. I thought they were still worth sharing.

11 April 2016

Wood block printing

I bought these lovely wood blocks while in London as they were so decorative and also because I wanted to try my hand at printing with them.

My first attempts at printing were not successful as I had not realised  it was necessary to remove the white paint first. Until the penny dropped,  I couldn't understand why there were flakes of paint in my prints.  Once I had washed it off, however, I was really pleased with the result.  Luckily I experimented on scrap fabric first.

The printing is  not perfect and here and there are little spots of  paint, but I really don't mind that as it gives the fabric a hand-made look rather than a mass-produced one.

I used a couple of cushion covers which I picked up in Spotlight for a very reasonable price (just in case I was unsuccessful).  Now that I know what I am doing, I would feel more confident using better quality fabric.

I haven't yet used the small paisley block, but have a few ideas in mind.

09 April 2016

Chelsea Physic garden

I find it truly incredible that this little garden in the heart of Chelsea, has been around since 1686.

The snowdrops were blooming in the Chelsea Physic Garden while I was in London so a visit was called for.  

I did know that there are many varieties of snowdrops, what I didn't know was how different they are.

When it is not going by its botanical name, this one is called "Grumpy".  Not hard to see why!

Simply beautiful.

10 March 2016

A long way to go

It has now been two years since my cancer diagnosis and I am pleased to say that, so far, my recovery has gone well.   I am so thankful to my doctors and family who have all supported me through a difficult time.   Now that my energy levels are returning, I realise just how  draining the whole experience has been and how low my stamina had become.  I did manage to keep my creative life going but sometimes I had to push myself to achieve small things.  However, I am so happy that I now have the desire as well as the energy to throw myself back into what I love doing.

As I look around me, I see all the things that I have been wanting to do, but have been putting off because they were just "too hard".  Recovering these chairs was one such job.  

One of the reasons it was "too hard" was because I couldn't find the fabric I wanted.  I knew that one day I would find it and, sure enough, a trip to the Columbia Road flower market in London of all places, elicited just the fabric I had been searching for.  Tucked away in a small side street I found a shop selling furnishing fabric so once we had stocked up with tulips and hyacinths, I stocked up with my new elusive fabric.

Once home in Australia, I didn't waste too much time before I applied said fabric to the chairs and I think the result speaks for itself.

I can't believe I had to travel so far to find something so simple.

21 February 2016

Two bites of the cherry

Last year, when I ticked off my bucket list a visit to Petersham Nursery in the UK, I didn't for a minute contemplate that I would be back again within six months,  However, that is just what has happened during my blog absence.  Daughter A and family have gone to live in London.  I would like to say for a short time, but I suspect that it could be for a few years.  Lovely for them, but very sad for me.  The upside, of course, is that I now have a good reason to visit which I hope to be able to do regularly.

It was wonderful to return to Petersham in the winter and how different it was to my last visit during the summer.  I felt a bit sorry for these little primulas with their blanket of frost.

The fountain which had been splashing happily in the greenhouse on my last visit was now covered with icicles.

As usual, the displays were stunning and temptation was everywhere.

On our last visit, we had afternoon tea in the greenhouse.  This time we treated ourselves to a lovely lunch in the cafe.

I don't suppose many people get to tick something off their bucket list twice so I think I am very lucky.  Who knows, now that I have more reasons to visit the UK, I might even have three ticks against this item.  Now that would be greedy!

26 December 2015


Outside the temperature is heading towards the high 30s.  Inside I am packing for winter as I am soon to leave for the northern hemisphere.  Reports on the television news indicate that the temperatures there are very mild and I wonder if this eternity scarf which I have just finished will be needed.

It will go into the suitcase anyway just in case the temperature decides to plummet and then I am sure its warmth will be welcome.

I wish everyone a wonderful, healthy and successful 2016.

The pattern for this came from The Purl Bee site.  The instructions are for a scarf but I turned it into an eternity scarf by sewing the ends together.

03 December 2015

Queen Anne table makeover and a recipe

It's been a long time since anything received a makeover and I was beginning to worry that the tin of white paint might have dried up.

Mum gave me this little Queen Anne side table some time ago and it has been waiting patiently for its makeover, which, as you can see, it is in dire need of, or should that be - of which it is in dire need.  

Very dark and dreary isn't it.

It has a tapestry under glass which sadly has seen better days.  Mum did the tapestry during the second World War when tapestry wool was impossible to find and she used regular knitting wool. The moths have been enjoying it and the table has provided a home for various other creatures.  I hate to throw the tapestry away given its age and provenance, but can't imagine what I can possibly do with it it.  Mum has told me to get rid of it, but despite that it survives.

My first task was to take the table apart to see what I was dealing with.  I didn't want to keep the glass top and I thought this might be a problem which proved to be the case when I had removed it.   I needed a piece of wood but the one currently on the table was too big to fit under the frame.  This wouldn't have been a problem if I had the right tools for the job, but as I think I have mentioned before, the tools in our shed are extremely basic and do not run to fancy saws.  I don't even know what sort of saw I needed for this job, but whatever it was, it definitely doesn't live here.

Using the piece of glass I measured the size I needed on the plywood and then started looking around for something to cut it with.  I remembered  that I had a knife in the kitchen which was supposed to cut anything, even metal.  It was one of those promotional products being demonstrated at the supermarket one day and I got duped into buying it.  You never know when you might need to cut a coin in half as the demonstrator was doing.

So I got out the knife and started sawing.  It cut but oh so slowly and I thought I would be there until doomsday so I had a rethink.

If you are a professional DIYer and you know your way around a toolbox, look away now.  Yes, I got out the pruning saw.  Well, they prune wood don't they and I needed to cut wood.

Again, it cut but very slowly and made a terrible mess of the edges.

I had made a super healthy slice a bit earlier and it needed to go into the oven.  As I thought I would soon be in need of some sustenance, I went inside to cook it and brought the timer outside with me so I wouldn't forget it which I have been known to do.

I went back to my sawing hacking and happened to glance over at the piece of tapestry which I had removed.  What an idiot, it had been attached to a piece of wood exactly the size I needed.  All I had to do was remove the tapestry and I had my table top.

Not pretty!

It was definitely time for a tea break. The slice was out of the oven and was smelling good.  Filled with healthy goodies, puffed rice, chia, pepitas, LSA, almond butter, pine nuts, it would give me the energy I needed to keep going.    All that table top pruning had worn me out!  Recipe here .

Then it was time to put everything back together.  For some reason, I didn't take any photos.  I must have been so energised I just wanted to keep going. A couple of coats of white chalk paint and a light distressing and my little table was looking a lot happier.  I took her inside and put her in the white corner where she provides a wonderful resting place for a jug of roses and a cup of tea.

She didn't turn out too badly for such a rough job and let's face it, roses make anything look beautiful.

Now I am looking around for the next victim and and I don't have  to look far.  They are practically queuing up for a fresh new look.  I just have to find the time.